As part of the Spectrum Brands Value Model, the Global Batteries Division has focused on cost reductions, cost improvements and global NPD Product Platforms to maintain a competitive advantage
These efforts have led to financial and business sustainability. But what next? How can Spectrum involve strategic innovation into what has been a commodity business to gain market share, building on that base of stability to thrive?
Looking for an injection of energy for its new product development group, the Global Batteries Unit leadership asked Design Concepts to lead the group in a “learn by doing” project to reinvent their twice-annual global brainstorming gathering.
The process we led is one that we have used successfully with many companies desiring a culture of innovation. We began with contextual research, followed by going into the field for user-centered research. We visited end-channel distribution points, interviewed key opinion leaders (KOLs) and stake holders, and applied choreographed analytics that allowed us to synthesize the field research and stakeholder insights into several inspiring directions.
While the process was a familiar one to us, the global nature of Spectrum’s team posed some unique challenges. The core team came from the corporate office, but the extended influencers and decision-makers consisted of three regional teams representing the Latin American, European and North American markets. Corporate led the charge, but all three regions were involved in decisions. Balancing the needs of each region while maintaining global and regional alignment made for a truly challenging task.
The Design Concepts’ design and business strategy team knew that it had to teach as well as execute. We made time throughout the process to allow Spectrum’s team to reflect on the steps we had just taken, the outcomes, and how those puzzle pieces fit toward a larger innovation picture. The hardest moments in an innovation process test the mettle and fortitude of any seasoned innovator, much less first-timers. These points of reflection helped all of us stay grounded and remember that innovation is an ambiguous and uncomfortable process. Ultimately, the project helped Spectrum’s new product development team understand that one of the secrets of executing innovation is to have trust in the process and their team.
“Design Concepts brought forward a sustainable process that allowed us to leverage user-centered research and consumer trends to inspire innovation and shift our focus toward to a more creative business and product portfolio,” said J. O’Neil, Sr., Director Global Procurement and NPD, Spectrum Brands. “They challenged us through each step from consumer insights to innovation brainstorming and ultimately delivered a set of tools and a transferable process for defining consumer opportunity areas. This work with Design Concepts far exceeded our expectations and today is the catalyst for defining our forward looking product road maps.”
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